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Your Call: Is Intellectual Inequality a Deal Breaker?

August 4th, 2014

photo via flickr

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call on the letter below by leaving your advice in the comments section. 

Submit Your Own Question to EMandLO.comTry Our New
*PRIVATE* Advice Service!

 

 

Dear Em & Lo,

I’ve been with X for a few years: she’s pretty, fun and genuinely nice. Our political values are totally in line. We both wants kids and I know she’d make a great mother. I love her. The only problem is: I think I’m smarter than she is. I always used to think that in the perfect loving relationship, each person would think the other one was smarter. So now I’m worried that down the road I might start to resent her lack of intellectual curiosity, that her occasional cringe-worthy comments might start to irk me. But then I think I’m just being shallow — that being a good, loving person is way better than reading The New Yorker cover to cover. It’s at the point where we have to decide whether we’re going to get married — if not, I should get out now, for both our sakes. But I’m just not sure. Thoughts?

– Torn

What should Torn do? Leave your advice in the comments section below.

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Straight Guys: How to Respond to Being Hit On by a Woman

August 1st, 2014

photo via Flickr

A note to straight men: We’re constantly hearing you guys complain that you still have to do almost all of the pick-up leg-work. But then when a woman does attempt to hit on you in a bar, a lot of you turn around and call her “desperate” — even in 2014! (Er, who made off with your self-esteem, anyway?)

Admittedly, you don’t get hit on nearly as often as straight gals do, so you don’t have nearly as much practice at (politely) rejecting an unwelcome advance. Which means that when a brave lady does attempt to buy you a drink or engage you in conversation, you have a tendency to be awkward and weird about it. But what’s so “desperate” about knowing what you want and going for it? She shouldn’t be made to feel like she fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down just because she asked you to dance. It’s not like she’s asking you to bear her children. You never know, she may actually just want to use you for sex. So be nice to the women trying to even the playing field!

Oh, and ladies? Keep asking! And try not to take it personally if a guy is a douche when you ask him how he likes his eggs in the morning. He’s just had less practice than you.

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Dream Interpretation: I’m Having Gay Dreams About My Best Buds

July 31st, 2014

Other people’s dreams are never interesting…except when they’re about sex. Each week, our dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg tells one lucky reader what their dirty dream means. Got a dream you want Lauri to analyze? Click here to submit it (18 and older only, please). This week, a reader asks Lauri:

I have been having these exotic sex dreams about my best guy friends, and I do not know what they mean. My guy friends are not unattractive. These dreams been going on for a while and sometimes O wonder what do they really mean. I am a straight guy, but having gay dreams.

LauriYou are also very brave and I commend you for owning up to your “guy on guy” dreams. Lots of straight guys have them but are too embarrassed to discuss them.

Of all our dreams, the sex dream seems to be the most polarizing: either we are absolutely delighted when we wake up, still bathing in the glow of the amazing experience with our dream partner — or we wake up horrified, disgusted and very, very concerned.

You must remember that the dreaming mind speaks in a symbolic language and should not be taken literally, which means sex in a dream really isn’t about sex at all! Instead, sex is more about connection, communication and/or a merger of energies.

Since these are your best buddies that you are dreaming about, I would bet the farm your dreams are happening because you are really connecting with them in some way. Maybe you’ve recently been finding out that you have a lot in common with them. Maybe you’ve been having deep political or other meaningful conversations that is bringing you closer to them psychologically. Or maybe you all are “coming together” — ahem — on some idea or project.

Whatever the case, it’s all good! So let not your heart be troubled. Also? Let not your friends know. As benign as these dreams are, they could totally freak your friends out!

Visit Lauri’s brand new site, WhatYourDreamMeans.com, for even more dream interpretations! If you want to be able to figure out your own dreams every morning, then check out her latest book, Dream On It: Unlock Your Dreams Change Your Life, which will give you the tools you need to become a dream expert, too. Check out all of Lauri’s books here.

 

 

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The 25 Best Bug “Sex” Photos from Getty Images

July 31st, 2014

When you do a search for “sex” on Getty Images, you get a lot of interesting results — so many, in fact, that we were compelled to create a superlative series of Getty “sex” search images. We ran a “Best of Animal Sex” post and a best “Lion Sex” post, but now it’s time for the little guys to get their due: behold the best bug bonking, aw yeah! (Seriously, some of these are absolutely beautiful.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comment of the Week: What Porn Gets Wrong About Female Pleasure

July 30th, 2014

photo via flickr

Reader grainne said the following in response to our post, “Comment of the Week: How to Get Past His Porn Habit”. We found this point really interesting — that many women are bothered by porn not because they find it offensive, per se, but because they think it misleads men regarding what women like in bed:

When you talk about “getting past his porn habit,” you are not addressing how many women and girls might not really care that their men look at it, if it did not affect their thinking about what most women find pleasurable.

Dave Lampert, inventor of the Sybian machine, said it best: “I have long maintained that the greatest hoax played upon the world is the importance of the male stroking during intercourse. The in-and-out motion of stroking is used in nearly all male/female porno material. This movement gives the viewer a better view of what turns them on. It is what they wish to see. Thus most viewers think this is how intercourse is performed.”

To my knowledge — I admit to not having made a study on this point — man is the only animal in the kingdom that strokes. (Stroking should not be confused with the natural movement of trying to force the penis in further, which does have a slight in/out movement in the attempt to thrust deeper.)

Please do not try to tell me that man strokes because he has the ability to think. It is the opposite, he strokes because he is not thinking or because he is selfish. I believe that stroking is 95% to the benefit of the male and the 5% received by the female would come under the category of “priming the pump.”

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Top 5 Rules of Engagement for Backdoor Toys

July 30th, 2014

photo via flickr

We’re always thrilled to hear about people opening themselves up — as it were — to new sensual experiences in the backdoor area. Unfortunately this particular region seems to encourage experimentation with D.I.Y. sex toys — and it’s the last place you should be going D.I.Y.! Our E.R. nurse friend confirms that those stories about deodorant sticks/cucumbers/action figures stuck up patients’ butts are not merely urban legends.

D.I.Y. solutions can be great when it comes to home improvements, NOT when it comes to your tushy time. The anus and rectum are delicate body parts that need special care, or else — you’re right — things could go horribly wrong. The area is prone to tearing if mistreated, it’s not self-lubricating, and it’s got curves that can’t accommodate certain shapes (like, say, rigid action figures) easily.

Instead, you should use only high-quality toys designed specifically for the rear, like LELO’s Bob and Billy, Tantus’s L’il End butt plug, the Tantus vibrating ProTouch, or Booty Beads’ Silicone Anal Beads. (If your tush doesn’t get out of bed for less than $10K, then check out LELO’s gold-plated Earl anal plug.)

Here are the five things you should look for in a high-quality, purpose-made butt toy:

1. It should have a flared base so as not to get sucked up into your black hole, lost for all eternity.

2. It should ideally be made of non-porous material like 100% silicone so it can be sterilized thoroughly (i.e. so it won’t harbor microscopic fecal bacteria).

3. It should be soft, yet firm, with a little give to it so it’s easy on your bod.

4. It should be ergonomically shaped (e.g. it should have a tapered end and possibly a curve that targets his prostate gland, a.k.a. the P-spot or the male G-spot).

5. It shouldn’t have rough seams or anything that might break off inside of you, duh.

And while you absolutely must use lubricant — and lots of it — it’s probably best to avoid anything oil-based, like Vaseline or Crisco, since oils degrade the latex in condoms, they’re a bitch to clean off, and they can lead to infection in women (should the oil in question somehow make its way to her vajayjay). Instead, go for a water- or silicone-based lube, at least when you’re playing together.

Remember: Be smart (or would that be smart-ass?) when it comes to anal play. It’s like what your mom used to tell you about your nose: just because you can stick anything up there doesn’t mean you should.

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How YOU Can Help Change the Narrative of Pregnancy Loss

July 29th, 2014

Anyone who has experienced pregnancy loss, whether a miscarriage or stillbirth, knows that this subject makes people uncomfortable. Even close friends and family members often find themselves unsure how to react to this kind of grief and loss. It turns out that the same goes for a movie about this subject: Minnie Driver was recently nominated for a Best Actress Emmy for Return to Zero, a film about a couple whose first child dies in utero just days prior to his birth, and she said this about their struggle to get the movie out there: “This is a special one… We made this film for $800,000. We ran out of money. We couldn’t finish it. Families who had lost children contributed to our Kickstarter fund so we could finish this film. And when we showed it to distributors in town no one would touch it. They did not now how to market it. Then Lifetime stepped in.”

The film does much to address the discomfort surrounding pregnancy loss, but the filmmakers wanted to do more, which is why they partnered with our friend Tara Shafer’s awesome website Reconceiving Loss to build the Return to Zero Project/Reconceiving Loss, a digital archive and public project to document pregnancy and infant loss from miscarriage through to neonatal death.

In the United States alone, one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage, and every year an additional fifty thousand babies are stillborn or die within thirty days of their birth. This issue impacts millions of people each year, and still the topic remains a social taboo.

Assuming there are no Emmy-winning pregnancy loss roles in your near future, here’s something else you can do to help the cause: Reconceiving Loss launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to build this archive of stories and healing narratives. Award-winning novelist Edie Meidav, author of Lola, California, says: “After the trauma of loss, many people start to feel they live a story unscripted by them. And since we walk around always carrying great secret possibility — the ability to name elements of what we would otherwise call, merely, pain, shelving it away in the pain drawer — we all have a great power. Tell what you know (and also what you don’t know) about what you have suffered, and both a writer and reader find a sense of choice in what otherwise would seem to strip a person of that most basic dignity, that of telling one’s own story.”

Somehow Edie (another pal of ours) always manages to find the most eloquent, intelligent, sensitive way to say what we didn’t know we’d been thinking all along!

So, you can give ten bucks to the cause — and, even more importantly, you can share your own stories of loss, from miscarriage through to neonatal death.

If you donate at any level to the Indiegogo campaign, you will be listed as a permanent Charter Archive Underwriter. The campaign closes August 17th — current supporters include the STILL Project and the Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth. As New Yorker contributor Daniel Raeburn says of the Return To Zero Project/Reconceiving Loss: “Like therapy, writing is narrative. It’s taking the raw, senseless material of this world and shaping it into something that’s not so senseless, into something we can live with. A story. And after the death of a child, that’s what we need: a story we can live with.”

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The Bachelorette: What Happens in the Fantasy Suite Stays in the Fantasy Suite?

July 29th, 2014

screen shot of ABC’s “After the Final Rose”

Last night’s “After the Final Rose” was the most dramatic ever! Not because the Bachelorette (Andi Dorfman) got engaged to a guy (Josh “I Can’t Put My Arms Down” Murray) after only knowing him for two and a half months and only going on, like, three dates — max — with him. Not even because she slept with both of the two finalists (Josh and Nick “My Neck Is Always Cold” Viall) a week before announcing which one she’d chosen. It was the most dramatic ever because somebody (Nick) admitted to said sex on live TV!

Nick: Knowing how in love with you I was, if you weren’t in love with me, I’m just not sure why, why you made love with me?….I didn’t have any expectations about that night, but to me, that night, that was like fianceé-type of stuff. That meant so much to me. And I told you that. It meant the world to me.

You know it’s serious when you can hear a rose petal drop on a set with a live studio audience.

It’s an unspoken rule that what happens in the fantasy suites stays in the fantasy suites. It’s the one time the contestants can be alone together, away from the cameras, without microphones or their last few shreds of inhibition. Sex is had and it’s hinted at coyly by producers, but it’s not usually spoken of explicitly, especially not during the post-game “A.F.R.” when the focus is supposed to be on true wuv and mawwiage (and in the loser’s case, total devastating heartbreak).

Andi, with her facial expression set to Defcon 4 Frown, was not pleased with Nick spilling the beans:

That’s below the belt. I think that’s something that should be private.

It’s tempting to get on board the Andi Bus Tour through Indignation Town. After all, what happens in the fantasy suite stays in the fantasy suite. Like Andi said, that’s private. It’s not gentlemanly to kiss and tell. It’s pathetic for a grown man to cry because he didn’t get the final rose. Don’t try to slut-shame Andi because you’re bitter. You, Sir Scarf, just proved to the world why Andi didn’t choose you!

These are sentiments that have been expressed all over the Interweb and the Twittersphere since the show aired. They are even sentiments that we were inclined to embrace in our wine-and-chocolate-covered-strawberries-induced haze last night. But in the sobering light of day, we’ve popped two aspirin, washed the dirty wine glasses, and tried to get a little more Jack Handy about this whole most dramatic finale ever! thing.

If this had been “The Bachelor” instead of “The Bachelorette,” and a woman had gone on national television to ask why he had schtupped her if he didn’t love her, wouldn’t the rallying cry heard round the world have been “You go, girl!”? Isn’t that exactly what happened last season when runner-up Claire, regaining some viewer goodwill, said of Bachelor Juan Pablo, “Don’t tell me you love fucking me [and then not propose]“? And weren’t we all giddy when Andi herself pulled back the curtain of last season’s private fantasy suite to reveal what a self-centered pig JP was?

There’s something disingenuous about using the “privacy card” when you’ve signed up to be on a reality show about love (and — let’s admit it — sex). There’s something disingenuous about having sex with a person whom you know is in love with you (and whom you let believe you love right back, contract or not), and then dumping them and subsequently defending your actions by saying, “Your take on [what the relationship/sex meant] might have been somewhat different than mine.” There’s something disingenuous about answering the question, “You knew I loved you, so why did you make love with me if you didn’t love me back?” with the answer, “That’s exactly why I didn’t make you go through the rose ceremony.” There’s something disingenuous about saying that your intense feelings for this guy (while you dated, kissed and fucked him) were real, when you just admitted that you were in love with someone else the whole entire time, a person you planned on getting engaged to and having a monogamous relationship with for the rest of eternity!

People are joking about how Nick is a creepy stalker who needs a restraining order. But if we believe he was truly in love with Andi — and from the footage we’ve all seen, there’s really no reason not to — then why wouldn’t he do everything he could to see her again, to get some real answers, some closure? If she had refused all his requests to talk privately beforehand, then why shouldn’t he ask her, during the one chance he got, how she could have had sex with him if she didn’t love him? And why wouldn’t he be nervous and awkward and uncomfortable finally facing her?  Forget the fact that there were millions of people watching: it’s hard to confront someone you love who doesn’t love you back. How about a little more sympathy for the guy who got his heart pummeled? (We gave it to Claire, and she wasn’t even very likable!) As a straight man, Nick should be commended for being willing to be so emotionally vulnerable in public, and for expressing the idea that sex can mean something. Being in touch with your emotions and believing that sex is sacred are not the domains solely of women.

As sex writers, we are all for open relationships, as long as everyone involved is well informed about the situation. We’re all for women sleeping with whomever they want without being publicly shamed for it, as long as they’re honest with their partners. In all our advice writing, we encourage (read: demand) that people treat their sex partners with respect, open communication, and forthrightness — no matter their gender. That’s basic human decency.

Of course, decency is not a commodity television usually trades in. It’s a testament to the perverse power of reality TV that anyone thinks Nick should have acted any differently or that Andi acted nobly. We recently listened to a “This American Life” episode about one of the most popular reality shows ever in Japan which capitalized on the real suffering of one individual who was basically stripped, starved, tortured, and humiliated for viewers’ entertainment — it was hard to listen to and we kept asking, somewhat self-righteously, “How could people watch this, laugh at this, enjoy this?” Which of course begs the question, “How can you watch a show that purposely orchestrates people’s heartbreak, especially if you’ve ever had your own heart broken?”

Which is not to say we’re not going to watch “The Bachelor/ette” anymore (let’s not go crazy). But maybe we’ll try to watch it with a little less disdain and a little more empathy from now on.

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Your Call: Can I Tell My Married Boyfriend’s Wife About Us?

July 28th, 2014

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call on the letter below by leaving your advice in the comments section. 

Submit Your Own Question to EMandLO.comTry Our New
*PRIVATE* Advice Service!

 

Dear Em & Lo,

I have been having an affair with my supervisor for the past two years. Yes, he is married, but he made promises to me to leave her. She suspected us but he denied it, but when she tried to overdose on pills he called it off with me. He tells me he and his wife are over, too, but I don’t know if that’s true. I know we had a special love, and he is just calling it off out of guilt. Do I tell her?

– Cheatin’ (at) Hearts

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